Virtual Shopping: Barillet Factory Timepieces
Barillet Factory is a pioneering watchmaker based in Le Mans, France. In light of the restrictions placed upon brick-and-mortar retail stores due to the global pandemic of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, Barillet Factory has introduced the ingenious idea of 'v-commerce'. An extension of e-commerce, 'v-commerce' essentially opens the proverbial doors to a virtual experience for Barillet Factory's customers. This virtual reality scenario enables Barillet Factory's clients to access its timepieces in a manner not that dissimilar to the norm of attending its showrooms in person.
Such a novel customer experience process is matched only by Barillet Factory's comprehensive and highly innovative approach to its watchmaking. Focusing on three identifiable traits existent in every one of its timepieces, Barillet Factory's watches follow a three-fold identity, shape design, materials and mechanics. Coupled with the Franco-Swiss flair recognisable in its timepieces, there is much to be desired here.
'Round is not an option' not only serves as Barillet Factory's founding principle but presents the challenge of creating something that is already atypical. Barillet Factory is made up of a variety of collections, each of which is based on the same foundational architecture of a six-sided, with each collection being created from scratch.
Following on with the consistency of the shape design in each collection, Barillet Factory has endowed each piece with a unique-to-the-brand crown that is distinct and eye-catching. Building on that consistency, each collection characterises the notion of the ‘Superpunk’ movement, especially so with the skeletonised models which in effect is in reference to the balance between the ‘classy’ and ‘badass’ sides of the watch.
The latest collection, aptly named 'Superpunk', is made up of five distinct timepieces capturing the notion of Barillet Factory's identifiable tenets: shape design, materials and mechanics. Each model is crafted from scratch and is endowed with distinctive Franco-Swiss design traits. A combination of technique, creativity and execution is apparent in each piece.
There's a notion of soulfulness in each piece, too. Spirits of adventure, of daring and of individuality brings these pieces to life. The avant-garde, almost art-deco styling of the case is delightfully creative, and while the theatrical elements of the openworked models appeal to me the most, I do really like the blue sunray dial model, too.
As far as different goes, Barillet Factory absolutely marches to the beat of its own drum. Its timepieces are charismatic, unique, well designed and exceptionally well made. It's refreshing to see a watchmaker battling the two fronts of marketing, both in producing an exceptional product as well as providing an innovative and adaptable buying experience for its clients.